Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is caused by an obstruction of the airway. Patients who have sleep apnea may stop repeatedly breathing throughout the night. This can happen hundreds of times in a single night. The pauses in breathing can cause the patient to wake up, gasping for air. The most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is with a sleep study or polysomnography from a sleep specialist.

During a sleep study, the patient wears sensors on their face, chest, and legs to track things like their heart rate, breathing, and movements. Sleep apnea is diagnosed based on symptoms and your medical evaluation. The severity of your sleep apnea and your medical history will determine the dentist which treatment option is right for you. Most patients find relief with CPAP therapy. Others prefer snore appliances. Your dentist can help you understand the pros and cons of each treatment and help you make the best decision for your lifestyle.

Here are some of the common snore appliances that help sleep apnea patients:

Mandibular Advancement Devices

Mandibular advancement devices are a type of mouthpiece that moves the lower jaw forward slightly while you sleep to open up the breathing airway. The bite of your teeth does not change, so even though your jaw is moving, your natural teeth will still be in contact.

Most mandibular advancement devices are custom-fit by a dentist or orthodontist.

Tongue Retaining Devices

Tongue-retaining devices are also called mandibular repositioning devices. They are responsible for moving your lower jaw forward, opening your airway, and reducing or eliminating snoring. A tongue-retaining device has a built-in piece that rises up to hold your tongue in place while you sleep.

The Tongue Retaining Device is a type of snoring appliance that is worn in the mouth while you sleep. The device works by holding the lower jaw in place and moving the jaw forward slightly to increase the opening of the airway. This helps the air flow pass through the airway more easily, reducing or eliminating snoring.

Nasal Dilators

Nasal dilators come in many shapes and forms. They are usually made of rubber or plastic and fit over the outside of the nose. They are often small, circular, and fit snugly into the nostrils. This helps keep the nasal passages open, which can reduce snoring.

These dilators come in a variety of different sizes and are color coded. They can be used in conjunction with other snoring treatments, such as CPAP or pillow speakers.

Hybrid Devices

Hybrid devices are oral appliances that are placed in the mouth at night. These appliances are designed to treat both snoring and sleep apnea. The devices work by positioning the lower jaw forward. This promotes open airways, which can reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

Pillar Procedure

A pillar procedure uses a special type of mouthpiece that has two pins in the mouth. It fits over the teeth, holding the jaw forward. This can help to reduce the airway, preventing the vibration that causes a snore. In order to perform the procedure, the pillar appliance is fitted during a simple procedure that is performed in the dentist’s office.

Briarwood Family Dentistry, located in Aurora, CO, offers the best and most gentle dental care services to patients. Dial (303) 680-6000 and book an appointment with us to know more about our dental services.

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